keeeper to be sold

From Michael Nichau

Stemwede-Oppenwehe (WB). The Oppenweher company "keeeper", formerly OKT, is for sale. The local company, once an offshoot of "Sulo", has been wholly owned by Wrede Industrieholding in Arnsberg since 1991. The "keeeper" management in Oppenwehe said yesterday that only this company was entitled to information.

The head of the holding company since February has been Michael Sindram, who manages the company together with Jens Bauer in the management team. Sindram and his colleague Bauer were not available for a statement yesterday. According to information from this newspaper, a generational change in the management of Wrede took place at the beginning of the year. Sindram followed Helmut Schmidt, who had been the managing director for many years and who worked in this function for 34 years.

It was originally planned to lead the holding company into the future through external acquisitions and the strengthening of the "keeeper" group. Now Wrede-Holding not only wants to part with "keeeper", but also with its other companies "Arcolor" and "Interprint". Arcolor produces printing inks, Interprint produces special papers for the furniture and laminate flooring industry.

"I got knowledge of this at the beginning of the year", said the mayor of Stemwede, Kai Abruszat, at the request of this newspaper. He reminded the holding company that the council and administration of the municipality had created the planning prerequisites to keep, support and expand the company in Stemwede. "I would like the company to take advantage of these conditions," said the mayor. "But the decisions are made by the Wrede-Holding", he emphasized.

Concretely, it is also about a planned high-bay warehouse. In 2014, the Council decided that the local company could build the 30-metre-high building on the site. So far, the company has not decided to expand the building. There is no construction date yet, "keeeper" managing director Meik Wolf declared in July 2018. "Keeeper" had rented appropriate storage space, it was said at that time.

According to IG-Metall secretary Lutz Schäffer from Minden, the members of the union are afraid for their future. It was said that the management had not yet spoken to the union. The chairwoman of the works council did not want to take a stand yesterday in consultation with the management.

Facts and figures

"Keeeper" has a plant in the Polish town of Bromberg in addition to the Oppenwehe site. According to Keeeper, 500 employees are employed throughout Europe. The number of employees in Oppenwehe was 175 in 2018. Wrede-Industrieholding employs 1900 people at 12 production sites worldwide and, according to its own figures, generated total sales of EUR 401 million. The establishment of the foundation led to the bundling of the company's capital.

A COMMENTARY by Michael Nichau

It is only to be hoped that the traditional company will remain in Stemwede. After all, almost 200 jobs depend on the manufacturer of plastic household goods.

Reminder: Almost four years ago, the municipal administration wanted to create building rights for the high-bay warehouse, which was still urgently needed at the time, and after intensive consultation, it implemented this. Nevertheless, the building has not yet been erected. Did the current development already indicate itself with the establishment of the Wrede Foundation (also in 2014)?

At that time the staff feared that the company, which had a long history as "Sulo" and "OKT" in Oppenwehe, might withdraw completely from the village. This fear seems to have remained in Oppenwehe.

May one believe that Wrede-Holding will actually find a suitable partner for the domestic company? It remains to be hoped that this - in the interest of the employees - will also apply. From Oppenwehe no statement had taken place yesterday. A bad sign?